How to Protect Dog Paws From Hot Pavement (burns hurt!)

It's the middle of the summer, the sun's shining and it's beautiful weather.  It's the weekend and you've had a bit of a sleep in and have decided to go for a walk around the block with your dog to get the weekend newspaper and brunch supplies.  Think again though, it might not be ideal for your dog.  They might even get burnt feet!  We definitely need to learn how to protect dog paws from hot pavement.  If you don't think this is important, let's just have a look at the temperature.

 
 

How hot can the pavement get?

Today, in the shade it's 26 degrees (that's 79oF).  It's a nice day, shorts and t-shirt weather but it doesn't seem particularly hot.  Most likely it can get quite a lot hotter wherever you live.  How hot is it in the sun though and how hot is the pavement?  The sun's beating down on it all day and it's also darker.  So it's absorbing all of that heat the sun is pumping out.

If we move the thermometer into the sun it shoots up to 37 degrees.  Moving it down onto the pavement though and the temperature climbs to 44oC (111oF).  So that's pretty hot compared to the 26 degrees that it is in the shade.

But what does this mean.  How hot is 44 degrees?

Will a hot pavement burn your dogs paws?

Within a couple of seconds of removing my shoes it's feeling pretty hot.  It is not so bad on my heels but the balls of my feet, which are a bit more sensitive, it's feeling really hot.

I'm not moving, which would mean that I'd be able to shift my weight from foot to foot and stand the temperature a bit longer.

 
 On a hot day the pavement can get so hot your dogs paws will burn in minutes
 

At 20 seconds it's getting really hot.  So imagine your dog tied up outside a shop for five minutes.  They might shift their feet, trying to keep them as cool as possible but that will only help for so long.

39 seconds and I'm done.  The souls of my feet are painful and feel like they are starting to burn.  That's only 39 seconds!  Don't believe me?  Give it a go yourself (but it's not a competition, just look at these feet after someone walked barefoot on a hot beach) but you do so at your own risk!

Even 44 degrees is definitely hot enough to burn a dogs pads.  The piece of road I used was also old and quite light in color.  If it was darker then it would be several degrees hotter still.

I wondered if it was hot enough to cook an egg...you'll just have to watch the video above to find out!

How to Protect Dog Paws From Hot Pavement

Often we see dogs come into the vet clinic with really sore feet.  They're lame, you examine them and their feet are red, sore, ulcerated and have bits of pad flaking off.  So on a hot day we need to think carefully about what's best for our pet when we head out.  We definitely should NEVER leave a dog in a parked car (here's why, along with some other dog in hot car facts).

 
 how to protect your dogs paws in summer from hot pavement
 

Of course you're dog will still want to walk and explore.  This is fine, just stick to the cooler parts of the day.  Early morning is best but later in the evening can work too. Stick to the grass as well, it's definitely cooler than any road or pavement.

There are a number of other options to protect your dogs paws from a hot pavement.  You could consider getting some boots for them to wear which will really insulate their paws from a burning pavement.  These come in light mesh versions (check out their current price on Amazon here) as well as heavier duty versions that are better for active dogs and can also be used during winter.

Another way to protect your dogs paws is to use a paw wax.  It might not be enough in really hot weather but can also be used to soothe any dry, cracked feet.

You need to be especially careful if you have a short nosed, brachycephalic breed.  These guys are really prone to overheating.  Remember our dogs can't sweat to any significant degree, they can only pant to lose heat.  If a dogs breathing is compromised in any way, as is the case with many flat nosed dogs, then they'll be really prone to overheating.  This includes Bulldogs, Pugs and similar breeds but also dogs with various medical conditions such as laryngeal paralysis or obesity.

Enjoy the nice weather, just spare a thought for your 4 legged companion too.  Make sure they stay safe as well as have fun!

Our Pets Health: because they're family

Dr Alex AveryComment